Another Linda’s story
October 12, 2012
I read the column regarding Linda Heiberger with tears in my eyes and anger in my heart. I consider how she was treated and how she died almost criminal. In this opinion piece, I will explain why I find this so disturbing by telling my story.
My name is also Linda, and I, too, was born in 1955, five days before Ms. Heiberger. Several years ago, I became violently ill, and my husband took me to the Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital emergency room. There, they treated my symptoms, one of which was extremely high blood pressure.
I informed the medical staff that my doctor had diagnosed this condition previously, and I was currently on medication for this condition (I hadn’t been taking it for 24 hours due to the inability to keep anything in my stomach).
Lab tests revealed an enzyme/protein that could be either be caused by a heart attack or an intestinal virus. Because of my high blood pressure and the lab test result, they admitted me into the hospital for observation.
Do we as U.S. citizens allow other citizens, like Linda, to die at a bus stop because she did not have health insurance?
The next morning, by which time I was feeling much better, the nursing staff informed me that I would have to wait for an ultrasound heart test (I’ve forgotten the medical term for it); and if it was found that I had not had a heart attack, I would be released.
Unfortunately, it was Sunday, Super Bowl Sunday, and no one was there to administer the test. Since I was feeling fine and had been wearing a heart monitor that had shown no problems with my heart unless I moved the wrong way (I was getting restless) setting off the alarm, I asked if I could go home. I promised to come back the next day and take the test. They were adamant that I remain until the test was administered. I told them I only lived 15 minutes away and would return if there were any issues.
No, they stood their ground and said I needed to stay. Since I am not a medical expert, I gave in and remained. I was tested the next day, found out that there was no sign of a heart attack, scheduled for another heart test that week (just to make sure) and was released.
Though I was frustrated regarding my extended stay, the care I received was excellent throughout my experience in the hospital.
Now what was the difference between Linda Heiberger and my experience — health insurance! I had it, she did not. So apparently if you have health insurance, you get better health care than if you do not — duh!
Also, if that person dies due to unequal access to medical care, what does that say about the moral fiber of our country? Do we as U.S. citizens allow other citizens, like Linda, to die at a bus stop because she did not have health insurance?
My prayers go out to her family, which lost a mother, grandmother and aunt.
This is why I am voting for Barack Obama. He represents the best chance for our country’s ability to provide U.S. citizens access to medical care.
His plan may not be perfect, but it is a path forward to the goal of providing all of our citizens equal access to health care.
Please, in the memory of Linda Heiberger, vote for Obama, so that her family and all families will have the opportunity to receive the medical care that she did not.
Linda Campbell lives in Nevada City.